It was May of this year when we were raving over a native YouTube app finally release for Windows Phone 8. Microsoft and Google quickly began a public spat though, and the app was removed because it violated Google's terms of service. Fast forward to August, both companies re-released the YouTube app for WP8, with Google's apparent blessing and advertisements. Now in October, all has seemingly broken down.
In a version 3.2 update released on 7 October, the app has reverted back to the app it was before May 2013 - dreadful. No longer does the WP8 app have a native feel, providing access to your YouTube account, notifications, subscriptions, favourites, or anything of the sort. Now the app is simply just a link to m.youtube.com, WP Central first noted.
We've reached out for comment from Microsoft and Google to learn more about what is going on behind the scenes. Nonetheless, it's not a good situation for Microsoft, which has long been criticised for its lack of apps made available from the Windows Phone store. Now Windows Phone 8 users have to use the most generic version of YouTube across platforms, versus the fancy apps available on Android and iOS.
In August David Howard, vice-president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, wrote a scathing blog post titled "The limits of Google’s openness". He said Google blocked the YouTube app because it was not HTML 5-based. Here's an excerpt from Howard.
"We think it’s clear that Google just doesn’t want Windows Phone users to have the same experience as Android and Apple users, and that their objections are nothing other than excuses. Nonetheless, we are committed to giving our users the experience they deserve, and are happy to work with Google to solve any legitimate concerns they may have. In the meantime, we once again request that Google stop blocking our YouTube app."
A look at the latest app reviews on the Windows Phone Store. Users aren't happy.